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USSF "D" License

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Michael Tanczos


Blogging what I'm learning..

To keep kids involved, keep the game fun.

A practice is generally structured by having some individual component, a small group component, and a team component.

On the individual level it is not necessary or particularly useful to progress over time by doing more repetition. Instead, make the skill harder and start at an appropriately level of difficulty as progression is made.

1v1 dribbling is an excellent way to warm up before practice an excellent alternative to running laps

Model the skill as minimally as possible and work to ensure that the drill you are doing is enforcing the right lessons concerning the skill you want to develop.

When moving from individual to small group lessons, try to develop situations that could actually occur in a game. Rolling a ball out to players and having them kick on goal, for example, does not mimic real life situations.

Coaching should be decreased as a practice progresses and culminates with a scrimmage. Encouragement should be made during scrimmage situations to ensure that players utilize the skill you want to develop.


Always emphasize the importance of alternating touch from left to right, to ensure that players don't favor one foot.

Speed Dribbling:

Do not dribble with the instep, instead dribble with long strides and touches with vertical/frontal touches to the ball with downward pointing toe and exposed laces (laces should make contact with ball).


Try having a player shield a ball just by standing between an opposing player and the ball. Touching of the ball is not allowed.

Have players try shielding where they have one hand on the ball and they shield a second player from touching that ball.

Have players try shielding where they actually do 100% effort shielding. The body should be between the opposing player and the ball, and touches should be made to the *side* of the ball. Placing a foot on top of the ball makes for potentially awkward balancing issues and slows down the ability to pass quickly.

Developing 1v1 skills in group settings:

Set out gates where players work in groups of 4. Widen the gates and give one point for any team member that successfully dribbles through a gate. If progress is not being made, introduce two neutral players who can be on either side. If the skill is still not being done, widen the field of opportunity by simply making two opposing sides where one side must make it to the other by beating a defender.


Two teams of 4 on opposing sides with 2 more players in the middle (alternate yellow and blue on one side, and yellow on blue on an opposing side). The middle players have one blue player and one yellow player. Toss a ball in the middle and one must beat another player by using shielding tactics. A player that makes an accurate pass to a teammate on either side of the playing field allows that teammate to enter the field of play. If a pass is inaccurate (say, yellow misses his teammate.) the opposing team (blue) gets a free inbound pass from the sideline back into the middle players.

Michael Tanczos
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